Throughout my spring semester 2014, at the University of Minnesota, I learned that off-the-cuff thinking was one way to make a case, to show that you’ve absorbed information relevant, and to build your literary repertoire. I was enrolled in Modern Literary Criticism and Theory with an infamous instructor, who turned out to be one of the most influential thinkers I have met. At the beginning of the semester I literally thought I was going to fail this class. I absolutely needed to pass, because it was requirement of an English major, and I certainly enjoyed the concept of engaging modern literary theory. We were told on day one that this class would not be easy. It was bare-bones and straight-forward; the professor either thought you were there to learn, or he thought you were there because you were required to take the course for your major and definitely not in it whole-heartedly. Basically the class carried like this: each week we were to do a reading, discuss it twice, and then, without warning, every other week (or what the semester allowed) we were given thirty minutes to write on a question presented on the whiteboard. We had no midterm, no final, and no homework, aside from minimal reading. The writings were not open-book, open-notes, or even open-phone. We did the writings there, on the spot and in complete silence, except for the clock’s ticking. If your answer was good enough you got to read it in front of the class at next week’s discussion, which I never did. There was nothing except these writings, and unbeknown to my peers, attendance to calculate our grades. Here is the work I submitted, which I am extremely proud of. This is what I learned in Modern Literary Criticism and Theory.
I would like to thank deeply Professor Ismail for changing my perspective on the world, even if it was only for 6 minutes. –Thank you. TS_
Question 1: What might be Derrida’s critique of “event”?
Answer 1: Derrida’s critique of “event” may be that language in society has become problematic in that each word signifies something different to each individual. This meaning, the modern episteme- modern understanding, is based on language which can create an enigma for exacting, or defining, a collective understanding of “knowledge”, thus making all “knowledge” subjective. Acknowledging and accepting this problem is the “event”; the disruption; redoubling, or rupture comes to light when one thinks about empirical observation and defining what is viewed with absolution. Meaning it is difficult to build new ideas on concepts from a vague episteme. Derrida poses the idea that the modern episteme is not definitive, but rather constructed ambivalently, and a new freer form of thinking is becoming necessary for the “event” to transpire. The “event” is an epiphany that everything written has a free thinking author and is not un-bias and objective in an empirical sense, but only built up by personal experience in nature; therefore, making all understating open to individual interpretation.
Teacher’s Note: “This doesn’t address the question.”